Death To All

Written by: NB on 24/06/2009 16:38:41

You know what sort of music you're going to be listening to when you get an album that looks like this: a beige and black drawing of some satanic ritual and a crazy, snake-like logo that, once you have managed to decipher it, says "Necrophobic"; and naturally the album is called "Death To All". It's black metal baby! It's modern black metal too, none of that "good production equals selling out" mentality that some of the older bands in the genre stick to. Necrophobic is actually an old band, formed in 1989 which makes them the same age as the likes of Darkthrone (Darkthrone hadn't even got into black metal at that stage). You'd have thought that they would have got round to the name "Death To All" already; it seems quite an obvious one.

The album gets off to a very pleasing start with some awesome, oppressive riffs and fast rhythms in the first two tracks: "Celebration of the Goat" (presumably what is being depicted in the album art) and "Revelation 666". In this part of the album the pace is perfect with some mellow sections and nice (if unsuitable) solos mixed in. The latter half of "Revelation 666" is one such mellow/solo passage. Haunting, high pitched guitar melodies and a slowly building drum rhythm form a great ending. Sadly this is separated from the rest of the song by a silly explosion noise and a jarring pause. It seems like the band weren't able to create enough of a climax and resorted to this gimmick to blend the two sections in an unsatisfactory way. The next four tracks also have a tendency not to reach a climax and don't really stand out on their own merit. All of them have similar riffs of descending notes in the same key as each other and end up blending together somewhat. The riffs used on this album may also seem very familiar to people who have listened to the previous Necrophobic albums. The band clearly aren't afraid to stick to what they know. In this respect the fourth track, "For Those Who Stayed Satanic", has a strangely prophetic title. Perhaps the band should be a little less Satanic and head out in new directions. This particular track carries on with what is very much the band's standard fare before it trails off in a flurry of crazed screams and noises. I don't think this use of random noise (and the series of random guitar notes which overlay the intro of "The Tower") constitutes a serious attempt at providing variation to the songs. However, when you were getting slightly bored of the repetitious nature of these tracks, which are also increasingly devoid of melody, there does come some variation in the end of the album. "Wings of Death" brings back the interest of the first two tracks with a slowly building, atmospheric intro and considered use of the Necrophobic's favourite flavour of melodic riff and blends in some subtle, operatic, choir melodies. The title track which closes the album is another two stage epic which might be the most exciting track on the record incorporating Spanish guitar and some military drum beats for a final lead solo. Where was this stuff in the other songs?

I do feel that I have been unduly negative about the album so far. I think it's very successful album within the confines of its genre and a lot of the criticisms above could be leveled at many black metal bands. I just feel that there is potential for Necrophobic's music to be taken a stage further to incorporate some more progressive ideas such as those attempted in the opening and closing parts of the album or some more adventurous arrangements in the vein of bands like Dimmu Borgir. There is no reason to "stay Satanic" when you could be going somewhere far more interesting.

Download: Celebration of the Goat, Revelation 666, Death To All
For The Fans Of: Naglfar, Dimmu Borgir

Release Date 29.05.2009
Regain Records

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